Graduate Development Programme

Join MPI's award-winning Graduate Development Programme as a permanent member of our team and launch a rewarding career.


Applications for the 2021 programme closed on 23 August 2020.

A video about the programme (1:44)

This is a coloured, animated video featuring cartoon images of people and animals and other graphics. The animation and graphics reflect the words being spoken.

Narrator: "You’re a well-rounded individual with more than an impressive set of grades, right? At least that’s what your mum says. And you want to be part of an organisation that’s working to grow and protect New Zealand. Not a soulless corporation making money for someone overseas. Can we say that?

Yes, we can. Because we’re MPI (Manatū Ahu Matua) [The Ministry for Primary Industries]. Being part of our Graduate Development Programme means you're safeguarding our land, soil, and water. You're growing and protecting our taonga, as well as our industries. This stuff is super important – you aren't just doing photocopying. 

When you become part of our grad programme, you'll get to experience first-hand what a diverse organisation MPI is. During three 6-month rotations, you’ll get to move around the country choosing different areas of MPI – no matter what you specialised in at uni.

You could be running with the dog handlers, working on important policies and Ministerials, out on the water protecting our fisheries, or in the regions as part of a response to a biosecurity threat. By the time your 18 months is up, you’ll have a great perspective on the vital work we do at MPI.

You’ll also have built up a great network and received heaps of mentoring and development along the way. We invest in you. Why? Because you’re one of us. You’re whānau. A job on the grad programme doesn’t stop when your time’s up. It’s a real job, doing real work, making a real difference. That’s why our grads are still with us after 5 years of running the programme. And that’s why we were the winner of the 2017 NZAGE Best Graduate Development Programme. It’s a grad programme where you get to grow while helping to grow and protect New Zealand. To find out more check out our website ("

[End of transcript]

Who we want

MPI's Graduate Development Programme is a springboard to a satisfying and important future – one that's vital to maintaining New Zealand's unique natural identity and international reputation.

We want to hear from you if you're:

  • knowledgeable and passionate about the primary sector
  • interested in protecting New Zealand's biosecurity system
  • enthusiastic, adaptable and willing to learn
  • wanting to work with an organisation that's committed to helping you find the right career path.
  • want to become a guardian of New Zealand’s taonga

What to expect

As one of our graduates, you'll work in a variety of areas, for example:

  • biosecurity
  • forestry
  • fisheries
  • food
  • response
  • regulation
  • policy.

You'll have 3 work rotations of about 6 months each in different parts of MPI. Rotations may include regions (like Nelson, Christchurch or Auckland) as well as Wellington. Each rotation will broaden your knowledge, capability and confidence. 

Towards the end of the 18-month programme, we'll help to align your interests and goals to one of the many careers on offer. 

The MPI Graduate Development Programme will prepare you with the experience and insight you need to launch your MPI career.

What you need

You'll need:

  • a recent tertiary qualification (applicants should have graduated no more than 2 years before the start of the progamme)
  • to be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident or be an Australian citizen  
  • strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • clear, confident communication skills
  • sound relationship management abilities
  • a collaborative working style.

We don’t expect you to have a wealth of industry knowledge or experience. It will be a bonus if you have:

  • done voluntary or community work
  • learned or speak a language other than English
  • experience leading or mentoring others – for example in a sports team, volunteer group or academically. 

How to apply

We advertise for applications each year. Applications for the 2021 programme closed on 23 August 2020.

Create a profile on our Careers Centre to get an alert when applications reopen.

Keep in touch

Meet some of our grads

If you get in the programme, you'll get to experience the full spectrum of what MPI has to offer. Read what some of our grads have got out of it.

Alysha Bagasra

BA Spanish/BSc Biology and Environmental Science (Auckland)

Alysha Bagasra sitting at a table talking into a microphone. A sign with the words 'New Zealand' is in front of her.
International opportunities have opened up for Alysha.

"The MPI Graduate Development Programme has been fantastic as it's allowed me to work in different roles and areas across the organisation – from biosecurity to international trade policy.

Being on the programme enabled me to find what I was really passionate about which is international environmental policy.

My current role working in international climate change policy, as it relates to agriculture and forestry, has opened up so many doors for me."


Sam Bishop

Bachelor of Applied Business Studies (Whitireia New Zealand)

A head and shoulder picture of Sam Bishop.
Being a grad advanced Sam's career.

"When I saw the MPI Graduate Development Programme being advertised I saw it as a great stepping stone to get into a permanent role. 

Now in my current role as Adviser Business Continuity Planning, I get involved in some of the more people-focused areas in terms of how we react to natural disasters and emergencies, which provides a real sense of achievement when your work helps staff in knowing what to do.

MPI has a great cohort of mentors available across the whole ministry, constant employment opportunities, and a real sense of working towards something meaningful."


Danica Carter

MSc in Chemistry (Victoria University, Wellington)

A head and shoulders picture of Danica Carter.
Danica found valuable cultural support at MPI.

"I completed my qualification at Vic Uni and enjoyed getting involved with soccer teams, mentoring and tutoring, the VicPlus leadership programme as well as working at halls of residence.

I found MPI really welcoming as a whole, but I found the cultural support of Te Tauaki Puāwai (our Māori staff network) to be really valuable.

The grad programme has been a great way for me to get an overview of the organisation and has made me realise how broad the primary industries are."


Who to contact

If you have questions, email

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